Kai is 11 and lives in South London with his family. He is a regular at RSBC’s Health and Well-being clubs. His mum Bibi talks about the impact the sport programme has had on her son:
Kai goes to mainstream school and he has a lady who comes to see him because of his disability once a month. She put a leaflet in the post for me to let me know about RSBC, so I said to Kai, “let’s go and have a look and see what it is all about”.
“We came along and met Vince and Mark, who run the sports sessions. They welcomed Kai with open arms so that he felt immediately comfortable, and they introduced him to a lot of sports, ones that he knows and ones that he has never done before. We have been coming ever since.”
Bibi says Kai “thoroughly enjoys it and can’t wait for the next session to come along. He has made so many friends and it’s given him the confidence to do things he thought he was not capable of doing.”
Kai has Nystagmus. In his left eye he only has about 20% vision, so anything coming towards his left side he has difficulty seeing and he relies mainly upon his right. This can be a problem during sport, particularly during PE at school, because people aren’t aware of his condition. During football for example, if the ball comes to his left side and he has difficulty seeing it, Kai will hear people say ‘you could have got that’ or ‘you shouldn’t have missed that’.
“Kai is much more confident, he has learnt different skills. He can’t stop talking about it on the way home, about what he has done and the new friends he has made.”
Focussing on ability
“We’ve learnt here in this group that they have balls with bells that make a sound, so during tennis or cricket if the ball comes to his left side, he can hear it. Before coming to these sessions we weren’t aware that you could get things like that.
In this group they focus on what Kai can do, on his ability. If they are aiming something at him from the left side they will tell him, or clap, or use a ball with a bell. Here they all have a go and join in – no one is left out.”
“Since Kai has come to this group he has changed. He is much more confident, he has learnt different skills. He can’t stop talking about it on the way home, about what he has done and the new friends he has made.
He’s tried Goalball; he never even knew what Goalball was before joining this group. He’s learnt cricket from here; he never learnt how to play cricket before. It’s opened his eyes to all the sports that he is able to do.
It’s very important for me to know that my son is active and taking part in sports. As long as he is happy and I see a smile on his face – and I do when he comes to these sessions – it makes me happy.”
“I love sport. It makes me more active and it is really fun. PE lessons are good. But sometimes I get a go and sometimes I get a bit left out, and I get an upset feeling when I am left out.
It really is fun here because everyone gets a go and everyone is treated equally. If we had the ball that we use here in school it would be so much better.”
Have you been inspired by Kai’s story? Find out how you can get involved in sports and activities in your local area.